New Marysville ordinance allows police to make arrests for public drug use

The city of Marysville is cracking down on public drug use, as it passed a new city ordinance that allows police to make arrests for first offenses of people using drugs in public. The ordinance prohibits the use of controlled substances in public without a prescription.

Violation of the new law is a misdemeanor subject to arrest.

The city passed the ordinance back in December of 2022.

“We’re really trying to protect the public here and help get people who have a narcotics issue some help,” police chief Erik Scairpon said. “We need some kind of an incentive measure, that is primarily the reason behind a criminal justice approach to these things.”

However, not everyone believes this ordinance will get to the root of the problem.

“I understand that the community is looking for some safety but at the same time incarceration is never going to be truly effective for those suffering with substance use disorder,” April Provost, with Ideal Option, an addiction treatment center, said. “Simply incarcerating folks for using drugs is not going to get to any of the root problems and it’s not going to solve the epidemic.”

The ACLU of Washington gave KIRO 7 this statement in regards to the new ordinance:

“We will need to further analyze the ordinance, but we are weary of any proposal to further punish people who have substance use disorders, as we’ll never arrest and punish our way to a solution for this issue. We’ll always urge officials to treat substance use disorders as the public health issue that they are and make investments in proven approaches that address this issue through prevention, outreach, and recovery services.”